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aspiesavant
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15 Jan 2019, 10:21 pm

Former Provost John Etchemendy, in a recent speech before the Stanford Board of Trustees, outlined challenges higher education is facing in the coming years.

Following is an excerpt from that talk.

John Etchemendy wrote:
Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors.

I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within.

The threat from outside is apparent. Potential cuts in federal funding would diminish our research enterprise and our ability to fund graduate education. Taxing endowments would limit the support we can give to faculty and the services we can provide our students. Indiscriminate travel restrictions would impede the free exchange of ideas and scholars. All of these threats have intensified in recent years – and recent months have given them a reality that is hard to ignore.

But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.

This results in a kind of intellectual blindness that will, in the long run, be more damaging to universities than cuts in federal funding or ill-conceived constraints on immigration. It will be more damaging because we won’t even see it: We will write off those with opposing views as evil or ignorant or stupid, rather than as interlocutors worthy of consideration. We succumb to the all-purpose ad hominem because it is easier and more comforting than rational argument. But when we do, we abandon what is great about this institution we serve.

It will not be easy to resist this current. As an institution, we are continually pressed by faculty and students to take political stands, and any failure to do so is perceived as a lack of courage. But at universities today, the easiest thing to do is to succumb to that pressure. What requires real courage is to resist it. Yet when those making the demands can only imagine ignorance and stupidity on the other side, any resistance will be similarly impugned.

The university is not a megaphone to amplify this or that political view, and when it does it violates a core mission. Universities must remain open forums for contentious debate, and they cannot do so while officially espousing one side of that debate.

But we must do more. We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise.

I fear that the next few years will be difficult to navigate. We need to resist the external threats to our mission, but in this, we have many friends outside the university willing and able to help. But to stem or dial back our academic parochialism, we are pretty much on our own. The first step is to remind our students and colleagues that those who hold views contrary to one’s own are rarely evil or stupid, and may know or understand things that we do not. It is only when we start with this assumption that rational discourse can begin, and that the winds of freedom can blow.



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16 Jan 2019, 1:34 am

aspiesavant wrote:
Former Provost John Etchemendy, in a recent speech before the Stanford Board of Trustees, outlined challenges higher education is facing in the coming years.

Following is an excerpt from that talk.

Very well put.


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19 Jan 2019, 1:44 pm

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24 Jan 2019, 3:04 pm

DarthMetaKnight wrote:
I, personally, think that universities are just biased towards reality.

That being said, I find that universities are often reluctant to address US foreign policy. Instead, they tend to focus on the discrimination that occurs within Western society ... even though American foreign policy kills more people.

To be honest, that's my main problem with intellectuals these days. They see the world the way it really is, but they have their priorities in the wrong order.

#firstworldproblems

The reason why I'm still to the right of you is that I find some sort of conflict with the idea of "non-PC left" that you claim, but at least you're honest.



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24 Jan 2019, 3:17 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Hollywood_Guy wrote:
I wouldn't underestimate a crazy minority of people that much.

Yeah, it's Nassim Taleb's minority rule in effect.

To think, given enough time and effort, we could be seeing flat-earther rights and sensitivity cropping up or blasphemy laws against those who'd publicly make round earth claims.


I think the far-left authoritarian (if not totalitarian) dystopia paradise will already be in the US and Europe in 10 or 20 years. I believe that their overall plans for the west and more potential in places of wide influence are more dangerous or subversive than the extreme right groups that the mainstream media is just putting up a huge spotlight show on anyway.



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24 Jan 2019, 3:43 pm

I for one see totalitarianism as a problem no matter whose problem it is. Far right totalitarians are just as murderous & power hungry as those on the far left. You're deluding yourself if you think partisan use of force or fear is OK on either side.

Republicans imprisoned innocent kids. Democrats made a mockery of rape survivors. You're only feeding their sick game with your presumptions of innocence on either side.


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24 Jan 2019, 4:15 pm

cberg wrote:
I for one see totalitarianism as a problem no matter whose problem it is. Far right totalitarians are just as murderous & power hungry as those on the far left. You're deluding yourself if you think partisan use of force or fear is OK on either side.

Republicans imprisoned innocent kids. Democrats made a mockery of rape survivors. You're only feeding their sick game with your presumptions of innocence on either side.


That wasn't exactly my point.

I'm not saying one side or the other can claim more "innocence", I was talking about policy and overall agenda for the country or world.



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24 Jan 2019, 4:21 pm

There is no one policy that will work for everyone, contrary to conservative pipe dreams. That far left dystopia stands a much better chance of feeding you than a far right one choked by industrial pollution & petulant greed on the part of its' executive branch.

If you're worked up about left wing entitlement, please consider the consequences of right wing entitlement. They believe in the inalienable right to destroy their entire planet for money.


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24 Jan 2019, 4:44 pm

Most students are far more radical than their professors, who tend to be liberal centrists with comfortable lifestyles they wouldn't want to have change too much.



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30 Jan 2019, 12:48 pm

>> Most people in Academia don't have a Leftist agenda--even those whose viewpoints are, at times, towards the Left.


OMG lmao. People whose viewpoints are towards the left do not have an agenda?

Ask people who are conservative compared to the average professor.

I think if you compare the average professor with the average person on the street you will discover the massive difference academia has with the average person.



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30 Jan 2019, 1:17 pm

Academia =/= politics.

Considering this thread has a misspelled title & pejorative tone I don't really care about the potential bias. Are you telling us spelling quizzes were a radical leftist plot to corrupt our impressionable minds?


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05 Feb 2019, 6:46 pm

Medical school applicant urged to get DNA test so she would have a better chance of being admitted:

Dr. Brooks [the medical school admissions officer] immediately inquired into Plaintiff’s ethnicity. After informing Dr. Brooks that she was Caucasian, Dr. Brooks asked if Plaintiff was sure and suggested that Plaintiff obtain an expensive genetic test to see if she could qualify as Native American or American Indian to garner better chances of being accepted to Jefferson.

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/ ... ission.php

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cberg
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06 Feb 2019, 12:38 pm

That's inside out racial bias, not politics. Schools get funded by demography, if a bunch of rich white people fill up a class, there will be fewer subsidies because fewer students need them.

You keep presenting random things that make you angry as what you hate about the left but a lot of these things are pretty commonplace. Helping indigenous people go to school is absolutely necessary if you're seriously all about "law & order" presidents.


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06 Feb 2019, 4:02 pm

cberg wrote:
There is no one policy that will work for everyone, contrary to conservative pipe dreams. That far left dystopia stands a much better chance of feeding you than a far right one choked by industrial pollution & petulant greed on the part of its' executive branch.

If you're worked up about left wing entitlement, please consider the consequences of right wing entitlement. They believe in the inalienable right to destroy their entire planet for money.


What do you mean? Thinking in a pipe dream isn't exclusively a conservative idea. In fact, it's closer to the socialist and communist idea.



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09 Feb 2019, 1:04 pm

Jordan Peterson, dozens of academics attack Ivy League anti-male bias

--USC Ph.D. student Kursat Christoff Pekgoz has targeted Yale University and his own school for alleged anti-male discrimination. Now, he's going after Cornell.
--A Title IX complaint cites the existence of women-only centers and scholarships on campus, but notes that there are no men-only counterparts.
--Some big names, such as Professor Jordan B. Peterson and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, have signed onto the complaint.

Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor signed onto a Title IX legal complaint against Ivy League school Cornell University claiming anti-male bias.

University of Southern California Ph.D. student Kursat Christoff Pekgoz filed the complaint and more than 185 professors, scholars, and activists signed onto it. The complaint alleges instances of anti-male bias by Cornell, according to documents obtained by Campus Reform.

The 28-page-long document, which was sent to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, includes a “List of Exclusionary Programs” at Cornell. Pekgoz claims these programs discriminate against men. The complaint is predicated mainly on the fact that there are no male-only programs at Cornell, compared to a significant number of university-sponsored female-only programs.

“There are no male-only programs operative at Cornell University which can balance the female-only programs listed herein,” the complaint states. For example, the complaint includes the Cornell Women’s Resource Center as alleged evidence of anti-male bias, alleges that the center violates Title IX, and states that there is not an equivalent “Men’s Resource Center” at Cornell. Additionally, the complaint takes issue with the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center, stating that there is no comparable Men’s Health Center at the university....

Pekgoz’s complaint also alleges that Cornell violates Title IX by endorsing 390 scholarships on its website, all of which are only open to women.


https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11853


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